JS does not really like drawing but he would doodle on papers or his magnetic board when he is in the mood and last week, I was a little too ambitious (or silly, as I would call it at the end of the session). I was all ready to help JS to draw a perfect picture. I thought of many ways to help him and decided to use "shapes". At first, I thought of making some shape stencils but I was too busy to find time to make them so I ended up using "ready-made" shapes like bottle caps for circles and boxes for rectangles.
I asked JS what he wanted to draw and he told me he wanted to make a train (notice the difference; 'draw' and 'make'). He was very excited when I gave him the materials and started to put together a box and a toilet roll tube and said, "Lets stick them together to make a train!" Then I realised that he thought that we were going to make a train because we usually do craft or painting. We rarely do drawing because he is not really into it. On top of that his pencil gripping skill is still quiet poor and I do not want to keep on forcing him to do it.
When I told him that we were going to draw a train instead of making one, he seemed to have lost interest in the activity. I started by asking him draw shapes using boxes ad bottle caps. I was expecting, perfect circles and rectangles. However, to my disappointment, he was not able to do it. I even got angry with him and crossed out the shapes that seemed imperfect to me. He struggled and almost refused to do it altogether.
In the end, I made stencils with a foam sheet to help him draw perfect rectangles and circles because I thought, "I wanted a perfect picture from my son!"
How silly was I! He still could not draw perfect shapes with the stencil because he kept on pushing the pencil out of the edges. I was disappointed and I even talked to him very sternly about him not being able to draw properly and he felt so bad about it that he almost gave up on the activity.
Not wanting him to continue to feel bad about himself (because I started feeling guilty for making such a huge fuss about him not being able to draw perfect shapes), I let him continue drawing his picture without extra help.
But soon after that, being the "perfectionist" me, I started reprimanding him again for not being able to draw perfect smoke, even after I showed him pictures of smoke, which look exactly like clouds. He could only zigzag vertically and found it difficult to do it horizontally. I could not help it so I pushed his hand and made him draw a perfect smoke. Yes, my definition of a perfect smoke. I really hate to see him draw his "imperfect" smoke so I told him to stop drawing more smokes.
I was already giving up on the activity and felt like asking him to stop when he said he wanted to draw windows for the train. So, I left him alone to draw and when I returned, he proudly showed me the windows and the doors.
What else could a mommy do? Well, I said: "Good boy! You drew a nice picture!"
As I pondered upon what happened earlier, I realised that I was being foolish. "What is a perfect picture?" I asked myself. "Is there a definition for a perfect picture? My four-year-old should be given the opportunity to draw as he could and as he wishes. Isn't it the way the encourage him to continue drawing?"
This is only one of the many experiences I had with my son that taught me valuable lessons. I have learnt a lot of lessons via the sessions we have at home. I used to be a teacher many years ago, but I think I can be a much better one now, after having experienced all the ups and downs in homeschooling my son.